CCI slaps fine on Eveready, Nippo & Panasonic for colluding to fix prices of zinc-carbon dry cell battery in India

The Opposition Fee of India (‘CCI’) passed Remaining Get imposing penalty on 3 foremost Indian Zinc-Carbon Dry Cell Battery brandsEveready Industries India Ltd. (‘Eveready’), Indo Nationwide Ltd. (‘Nippo’), Panasonic Strength India Co. Ltd. (‘Panasonic’) and their affiliation AIDCM (Affiliation of Indian Dry Cell Makers) for colluding to fix prices of zinc-carbon dry mobile battery in India. CCI invoked the provisions of Segment 46 of the Competition Act, 2002 (‘the Act’) go through with the Opposition Fee of India (Lesser Penalty) Regulations, 2009 (‘Lesser Penalty Regulations’) to reduce the penalty imposed upon Panasonic, Eveready and Nippo by 100 %, 30 % and 20 % respectively .

The case in opposition to these battery manufacturers was taken-up by CCIsuo motu under Segment 19 of the Act based on the disclosure by Panasonic less than Segment 46 of the Act go through with the Lesser Penalty Regulations. Throughout investigation, DG (Investigation), CCI in physical exercise of the powers vested with it less than Segment 41(3) of the Act carried-out simultaneous lookup and seizure functions at the premises of Eveready, Nippo and Panasonic on 23 August 2016 and seized incriminating content and files there from. Subsequently, while the investigation was in development and report from the DG was pending, Eveready and Nippo, approached CCI as lesser penalty applicants.

From the evidence collected in the case, CCI observed that the 3 battery brands, facilitated by AIDCM, had indulged in anticompetitive carry out of rate coordination, restricting output/ source as properly as market allocation in contravention of the provisions of Segment 3(3)(a), 3(3)(b) and 3(3)(c) go through with Segment 3(1) of the Act. It was observed that the carry out was continuing from 2008, which is prior to 20Could 2009, the day on which Segment 3 of the Act turned enforceable, and up till 23 August 2016 i.e. the day of lookup and seizure functions by the DG.

Thinking about contravention of provisions of the Act, an amount of money of Rs.245.07 crore, Rs. 52.82 crore and Rs. 74.68 crore was computed as leviable penalty on 3 battery manufacturers i.e. Eveready, Nippo and Panasonic, respectively, in conditions of proviso to Segment 27 (b) of the Act. While computing leviable penalty, CCI took into thing to consider all applicable variables like duration of cartel, industry problems, etc. and resolved to levy penalty on the 3 battery brands at the level of 1.25 moments of their gain for each individual calendar year from 2009-10 to 2016-17. Also, penalty of Rs. 1.85 Lakh was levied on AIDCM at the level of 10 % of typical of its receipts for previous 3 yrs. Additionally, thinking of totality of details and circumstances of the case, penalty leviable on person officials/ business bearers of the three battery manufacturers and AIDCM was computed at the level of 10 % of the typical of their revenue for previous 3 yrs.

Holding in perspective the phase at which the lesser penalty software was filed, co-operation prolonged in conjunction with the benefit addition supplied in creating the existence of cartel, CCI granted Panasonic and its individuals 100 % reduction in the penalty than was otherwise leviable. Eveready and Nippo, along with their individuals, were being granted 30 and 20 % reduction in penalty respectively. Pursuant to reduction, penalty imposed on Eveready was Rs. 171.55crore (Rupees A person Hundred Seventy-A person Crores and Fifty-5 Lakhs) and on Nippo was Rs. 42.26 crore (Rupees Forty-Two Crores and Twenty 6 Lakhs). No penalty was imposedon Panasonic.